One of horse of huge interest was K Ryan's Ardmay. Quite experienced on the flat, he was noted given an 'educational' spin at Catterick last winter before a hurdles campaign was put on hold in favour of a few runs back on the flat.
Running well in the spring while looking held by the handicapper, he returned to action at Ponte with another solid effort a fortnight ago.
|Ardmay looks sure to follow up in a handicap|
Chief opposition was Bloomfields ace Golden Heritage - rather well named being from the family of Derby winner Golden Fleece.
He had been credited by many as a winner without a penalty after capsizing at Worcester first time out but I had taken the view that he was by no means certain to come home strong that day and was happy to oppose him - particularly as the unfortunate Aiden Coleman had opted to ride at Southwell.
Lady Clitico was a possible danger but she got quite warm and is a keen-going sort, while her lack of physique looks set to hold her back in the near term at least.
Ardmay looked in good heart as expected, especially as he was now trading at less than 4 on the machine. I wasn't especially taken by the jolly, and there was nothing else in the field to worry about.
Ryan's horse won as he pleased, and the good thing for connections is that he is unlikely to be raised much more than 7lb for this pleasing win, where his jumping stood out. He will remain well-treated as he enters handicaps.
Beer Goggles has not grown an inch since March, but may yet be okay granted a test of stamina, while Cosmic Tigress is also rather small but put in a decent shift.
|68-rated So Bazaar an unlikely hero|
The rest of the card was of little interest from a punting point of view. The Backup Plan once again looked the part prior to repeating his win here last time off a higher mark, out-running the reliable Sendiym.
The handicap hurdle was not my cup of tea but Drifter looked in great heart and was raring to go as he looked to repeat his Perth win in this better heat. He may have got warm late on but once again this did not affect his performance, which was pretty clear cut.
Ever So Much ran his race again but is probably one to oppose at cramped odds, while Howaboutnever reportedly went down very poorly which may have presaged this dismal effort.
Talkin Thomas is worth a minor mention as he looked pretty well and ran as though his turn may not be too far away. He has the size to jump fences but has proved rather sketchy thus far.
The second handicap chase was one of the poorest you will see with the winner So Bazaar going in from a basement mark of 68. Everybody wanted to be against grumpy top weight Short Takes and they weren't wrong.
Backers of Aregra - and there were many - can consider themselves unfortunate as the smallish grey did little wrong on his first start over fences, but this staying sort just couldn't get away from a rival with a little more pace.
The bumper featured another short-priced one in Pipey's Fishy Story, who has a bit of size about her. P Niven's Absolute Angel had been nibbled at and looked in good order beforehand, coming home best of all to nick the prize.
Runner-up Mount Mizooka dwarfed her rivals and may need a little time to strengthen up while Fishy Story did too much out front, including trying to duck out at the paddock entrance and jumping the path on the bend. Given some cover she can win before too long.
With the season almost in full swing I will be starting the unique and bespoke pre-race text service that was so successful last season at Hexham on Friday. Contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you are interested.